Welp! It’s been a long time coming, but my promised fermented garlic paste number is here! And, if you’ve never made your own fermented garlic paste before – it’s bloody fabulous. I highly recommend you add this to your wholefood arsenal…
“You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic, you can eat The New York Times.” — Morley Safer
I cannot express to you just how much I love this little kitchen hack as a way to have homemade garlic paste on tap, ready and waiting for you in your fridge, whenever you need it.
For a little bit of work at the front end (namely peeling the garlic cloves!), you further enhance the nutrient density of your already good-for-you garlic by fermenting it AND you save all that fiddly pfaffing around with a garlic press when it’s the last thing you feel like. One less thing to wash up!
I love my fermented garlic paste so much, I’ve added it to my kitchen ‘essentials‘ list!
Fermentation is an ancient technique to preserve your food. In the days before electricity and refrigeration – the old, olden days, even – the art of fermentation was used to ensure that access to nutrient dense food was extended well into winter (aka times of scarcity).
The thing about this practice of fermenting your food is it enhances nutrient density and offers you a nifty way to add oodles of probiotic goodness to your diet. Naturally.
Fermenting foods actually makes their nutrients more bioavailable.
It’s true. In their raw and unprocessed form, many foods contain what are known as antinutrients. These are compounds that can interfere with the nutrient absorption of your food by binding themselves to minerals. Fermenting your food can actually provide you with significantly greater access to the good stuff you want from your food. It does this by increasing the acidity of the food and can even convert some micronutrients to new, even more, nutrient available forms!
How cool is that?
This is what the ever fab’, Sarah Ballantyne has to say about fermented foods:
What if I don’t care about this fermentation process?
Ok. So, say you don’t really care about the nutritional advantages of fermenting your garlic. What about the fact that you have homemade garlic paste in your fridge for whenever you need a hit of garlic in your cooking.
Your paste is naturally preserved (due to the fermentation we are no longer talking about), with absolutely no nasties. And, it will last for yonks. At least a year. So long, in fact, that I’m pretty confident you’ll eat it before you need to worry yourself about a ‘best before date’.
Have I convinced you yet?
Playing with your food…
Here in Sydney, I’m very lucky to have access to Russell, aka the good garlic guy. (You should follow him on Instagram. He’s a funny dude) Any-who, Russell’s garlic is gorgeous and local and organic. He’s passionate about his garlic, is Russell. I like growers and farmers who are passionate about their product, don’t you?
I took home a MASSIVE haul of Russell’s garlic one weekend, and spent a bit of time peeling it so that I could ferment a big batch. It was worth it.
And, to be honest, the hardest thing about this process is peeling your garlic. I use the flat of a large knife blade and give my cloves a decent whack to open them, before peeling them and throwing the naked cloves into my food processor.
If you have a better suggestion, please let me know!
And so, I bring you, my fermented garlic paste…
Makes approx. 1½ cups
- 8-10 heads garlic, preferably organic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 fresh cabbage leaves, preferably organic
- If you have an anaerobic jar, this is ideal. If not, don't worry. Any appropriately-sized jar with a lid will be fine
- Separate and peel your garlic cloves, placing naked cloves into your food processor as you go. I find the easiest way to do this is by placing each clove on a wooden board and popping the flat of a large knife on the top of the garlic before giving a short sharp whack with your fist. This splits the skin and allows you to peel the clove easily.
- Process the garlic, lemon juice and salt to a paste consistency in your food processor.
- Spoon your garlic into a clean glass jar leaving a good 2 or 3 cm at the top of the jar. Carefully place a layer of cabbage leaf on top of your garlic paste. Be sure to cover right to the edge of the jar to minimise any air exposure. When it comes to fermentation, air is not your friend.
- If using an anaerobic jar, you can now seal your jar. If using a regular glass jar, top your cabbage leaf with a small sealable (ziplock) bag. Spread the base of the bag onto cabbage leaf before filling with water and sealing. The water-filled bag acts as a seal.
- Place your jar in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight. Let nature work her magic for about 2 weeks. (Fermentation is not an exact science)
- While waiting for your garlic paste to ferment, keep an eye on it to ensure that air pockets don't form. If you notice one, gently press down on your weighted bag to release it.
- Your fermented garlic paste is ready when the garlic is milder than when it’s raw.
- Tighten the lid and store in the fridge.
E N J O Y !
Want to know what else I do to add nutrient density to my diet? In this listicle, I explain how I Make Nutrient Density My Hobby.
Looks amazing, as usual, Jo!! Please share how you use garlic paste. Is it a straight up substitution for garlic in recipes? If the recipe calls for sautéing garlic, can you still use garlic paste? Or is it like other veg ferments, where you should only add it to cold recipes or at serving time? Or do you just spread on plantain chips and eat by the spoonful?! I bet it’d be fantastic in guacamole!!
Hello, lovely Wendy! I use the paste as a straight up substitution for any time I would use fresh. Saves me pfaffing around and peeling. Having said that, the live probiotic properties from the fermentation process will be removed if used in cooking. Heat kills of those good bacteria.
Hint…. put a bunch of garlic cloves into a small to medium bowl, cover the bowl with a lid of some sort and shake for a minute or two. Cloves peel themselves!!
Here’s a super easy way to peel garlic cloves. Cut the root end off. Put the unpeeled garlic cloves in a bowl, cover with another bowl. While holding the two bowls together, shake them like crazy. The peels fall off.
Thank you for the recipe! Making it today. 🙂
Just a quick point you might want to make in this recipe….distiled water might be a good idea as I’ve just achieved green garlic paste, which isn’t terribly attractive, but is at least safe to eat 🙂
I checked my garlic after a week and find it’s green. Any idea why?
Liz – this has not happened to me in my garlic fermentation experimentation but you are the second person to mention it. I have done a little sleuthing and it seems that when acid such as vinegar or lemon juice is added to the garlic, it ruptures the cell membranes of the cloves, causing amino acids and sulfur compounds present in the garlic to mix. When this occurs, an enzyme called isoallin is released. Isoallin reacts with the amino acids, and blue or greenish pigments called anthocyanins can be the result. My reading suggests it is a natural occurence and the garlic is safe to eat.
You may find this article of interest: https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/why-does-garlic-turn-blue-article
On the other hand, it is fabulous and gorgeous shade of green which I understand is highly prized in China…I should post pictures
https://joannafrankham.com/aip-how-to-get-your-head-in-the-game/ LOVE the reframe! Talk about ‘above the line’ thinking! –
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